We were first introduced to James Cameron’s Avatar in 2009, so it has been a long wait for fans to take a deeper look into the world of the Na’vi. The first film had a budget of $237 million back in 2009, which domestically earned over $760 million and almost $2.1 billion internationally. Avatar: The Way of Water will have a budget of around $250 million and is expecting to make $225 million in its opening week alone. James is credited as a writer, director, producer, and editor on these projects and the movies would not have been the same without his heavy involvement or vision. The budget for these films is so high due to the quality of graphics and processing technology needed to bring the world of the Na’vi to life and the level we are expecting to see on the big screen. But the budgets for these movies are nothing compared to others you may have seen. In fact, Avatar is not even in the top 10, with Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides being in first place with a $456 million budget, Avengers: Age of Ultron in second place with $417 million, and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End in third with $392 million when you adjust for inflation.
It is a known fact that James Cameron shelved the first film for 10 years before starting production because the technology needed to catch up with his imagination, and fans could not have appreciated that more. To know that something will be loved by so many, and letting it collect dust until the right time is a pain many artists can understand. The same instance happened with the sequel, as we had to wait 13 years, but the payoff will be well worth it.
Thanks to the advancement of technology, lighting, and motion capturing technology, we were able to experience Avatar in standard viewing and in 3D. However, with The Way of Water, James’ production company, Lightstorm Entertainment in partnership with Christie Digital, is working on a new technique that will allow you to have the 3D experience without having to wear glasses. That means lower chances of motion sickness, a decrease in the likelihood of having to take off your prescription glasses for the hard plastic ones, and a pure, uninterrupted viewing on the screen. In the last 13 years, the entertainment industry has found better ways to seamlessly incorporate live actors with their digitally generated counterparts making the Avatar series one that stands out from its competitors.
After all of the waiting, we at least now know that The Way of Water is the second release in a planned four-film series. Disney has been quoted saying, “We’re launching the sequel on December 16, 2022, Avatar 3 on December 22, 2023, Avatar 4 on December 19, 2025, and Avatar 5 on December 17, 2027.” In The Way of Water, you can expect the return of fellow cast members Sam Worthington as Jake Sully, Zoe Saldaña as Neytiri, Stephen Lang as Colonel Miles Quaritch, Sigourney Weaver as a new character, Kiri, Joel David Moore as Norm Spellman, Dileep Rao as Dr. Max Patel, Matt Gerald as Corporal Lyle Wainfleet and Oona Chaplin as Varang.
From what we can see in the trailer, the characters we know and love meet up with other Na’vi, and their region has some noteworthy differences. We see a water version of the air traveling banshee which means they have adapted or are a branched cousin, a massive whale that could be a version of Toruk, Last Shadow, an apex predator that very few have been lucky to ride, Jake and Neytiri’s adopted human son, named Miles Socorro, aka Spider, and some of the people appear to have green skin instead of the blue we know. Through some interviews, we can expect to see that Jake and Neytiri will have 3 biological children: Neteyam (Jamie Flatters), Lo’ak (Britain Dalton) and Tukirey, aka Tuk, (Trinity Bliss), plus their adopted children, Spider and Kiri. These were just a few instances worth pointing out with even more to be revealed when the next trailer drops, and we get closer to the release date.
With the new additional cast members, the plot of Avatar is more uncertain than not, with fans weaving together theories about where it will go and how far into Pandora we will be diving. But the consensus is clear, the fans are thrilled and enthusiastic about the theatrical release.
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